Are you familiar with different types of dock ladders? Sometimes, updating this one simple element is all you need to improve the functionality and feel of your marine structures. People want to feel safe and comfortable boarding boats and other watercraft, so upgrading ladders is a great way to get more out of these investments — and get more fun from your free time.

Explore Different Types of Dock Ladders

Sturdy, well-made ladders are essential for safety around docks, as well as for the convenience of entering and exiting the water and certain watercraft safely. While a small and inexpensive element when compared to dock construction or refurbishment, ladders can have a profound impact on the quality of experience enjoyed by people using your facilities.
Investing enough in this area can improve participation, safety, and enjoyment. They can also boost your project’s entire return-on-investment. Having the right equipment in place is just as important to residential clients as it is to business owners.

Types of dock ladders include:

  • Rope ladders
  • Retracting ladders
  • Fixed ladders
  • Stairs

Each type of dock ladder has several variations as well. For instance, industrial rope ladders for water use offer far more strength and durability than basic rope ladders from the hardware store. Aluminum, composite, wood and concrete are all popular materials builders use in stair construction. The best choice depends on your whole dock’s design.

The Best Types of Dock Ladders

Homeowners sometimes assume a rope or retractable ladder is the best solution for a floating dock. Like watercraft, floating docks change position based on the water’s movements. A fixed ladder seems like it might be more cumbersome during fluctuations. It turns out this isn’t the case. A fixed ladder outperforms when it comes to durability and ease-of-use.


Stairs are a customer favorite at dock points where people are entering and exiting the water. This is especially true for people who have mobility challenges and other issues which make navigating a ladder difficult.

Stairs provide a larger footprint for people and for pets. Step coating offers slip-resistance. Our 4- and 5-step stair ladder can attach to the side of the dock as well to allow for optimal usage of your decking surface. Our articulating stairs stay level regardless of the movement of the water or the platform.

Fixed Ladders

Because retractable ladders aren’t submerged, the problems of barnacles and water-based wear aren’t as common. Most importantly, our fixed ladder construction withstands the elements. You won’t have to worry about weakness at joints or malfunctioning parts putting you at risk. And, you won’t have to worry about rising and lowering your ladders regularly either. Install a ladder system that requires little-to-no maintenance or effort to use with a quality fixed ladder from Wahoo Docks.

Ask our design experts about the best types of dock ladders for your dock’s overall design. So, whether you are interested in 4- or 5- step ladders, stair ladders or even dog ladders, we are happy to help you explore your options and find the ideal dock ladder to meet your needs and budget.